NEW YORK (AP) — By the numbers, the January 6 committee hearing drew 20 million live viewers on the opening night, 11 million for the first day’s season and nearly 9 million for Thursday’s third installment.
Yet they do not begin with the traditional Nielsen Company’s criteria to measure the true reach of what is being said there.
Memorable moments of each hearing are cut down to the point where some have been viewed more times than ever before, for quick consumption on countless news shows, comedy shows, and online.
In many ways, this is the first congressional hearing in memory specifically designed with the needs of modern media in mind, said Jeff Jarvis, a journalism professor at New York University and frequent blogger at Media.
“It’s already worked out,” he said.
While it’s impossible to know what – if anything – covered in the early stages of the hearing will stay far ahead of the week’s news, there are already breakout moments and characters.
Giuliani and Wine
Getting Wide Dissemination: Snippet where President Donald Trump’s former political director, Bill Stepian, aide Jason Miller and committee member Liz Cheney say lawyer Rudy Giuliani had plenty to drink before advising Trump on election night 2020 There was something.
Hours after the allegations were made, the clip was featured in the monologues of top-rated late-night comics Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel. The show is typically watched each night by a combined audience of about 5 million people, with many more watching online the next morning. Kimmel went with the film package at the time Giuliani acted strangely in Trump’s defense.
Robert Thompson, director of Syracuse University’s Blair Center for Television and Popular Culture, said the episode resonated in part because it was a connecting moment in a very serious story.
“Having people who are prominent figures in a national political setting, being doomed is something that people can understand right away,” Thompson said.
the reality of the bar
Recorded testimony from former Attorney General William Barr that he found Trump “different from reality,” along with some of his claims about electoral fraud, were prominent in many news stories about Monday’s hearing. It was a vivid and disturbing image of a former president turning from the man running Trump’s Justice Department.
Clips of Barr’s comment were featured in ABC, CBS and NBC evening news broadcasts that night, and the three shows together typically reach over 20 million viewers – or double the number of people who watched the hearing live. saw.
There is no account of how many times it was repeated on cable news, or how many people saw it that way.
Two anecdotal examples show the extent to which it was viewed online. A clip of the moment posted by Reuters on Facebook has garnered 928,000 views, and a clip posted on The New York Times’ Instagram account has garnered 404,000 views.
daughter and son-in-law
The filmed testimonies of Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner have been particularly powerful, in large part simply because they come from the family of a man who prizes loyalty.
A clip of Ivanka Trump saying she relied on Barr’s assessment of the fraud allegations garnered more than 1.6 million views in an Instagram post published by The Shade Room, a media outlet focused on celebrity entertainment, and 1 million When Bloomberg shared it on Twitter. The Twitter post of the video, uploaded by MSNBC and the committee itself, together garnered over 900,000 views.
A video of his recollection of a phone call his father made to Vice President Mike Pence on the morning of January 6, 2021 was featured on each of the three Thursday evening newscasts, sometimes accompanied by a colorful description of his language. .
When asked what he had told his father-in-law about Giuliani, Kushner’s paused response—as if he were weighing in real time what that meant—became fodder for joke.
Formerly little-known, former White House attorney Eric Hershman has become a breakout star for last week’s filmed testimony about his conversation with John Eastman, the architect of Trump’s failed maneuver to seize power.
Editing out his colorful language, Hershman recalls asking “Are you out of your mind?” When Eastman talks about a possible appeal of Georgia election results the day after the capital riots. Like a rude parent, he tells Eastman that the only words he wants to hear from him are “orderly transition” and advises him to “get a great criminal defense attorney. You’re going to need it.”
Recognizing the potential impact of the testimony, Cheney released it on Twitter the day before it featured prominently at the hearing, paying extra attention to it. It also served to highlight the committee’s finding that Eastman had unsuccessfully apologized to the President.
Politico also wrote a story on the art hanging on the wall behind Hershman during his testimony.
Only Cheney’s prosecutor-like outline of the committee’s case on top of prime-time hearings attracted widespread attention, as well as some advice that may last longer than her political career.
“Tonight, I say this to my Republican allies who are defending the inevitable: There will come a day when Donald Trump is gone — but your disgrace will remain,” she said.
The Associated Press’s tweet with the video of Cheney’s remarks has garnered more than 1 million views.
Someday, depending on how history views the events of January 6, 2021, it could wind up with a most remembered moment, such as when it was revealed during the Watergate hearings. That John Dean had warned Richard Nixon about “cancer in the presidency”. Thompson said.
“I see it as a classic quote,” Thompson said.
Associated Press correspondent Arizeta Lajka in New York contributed to this report.